Sure it’s fun to talk about the best rides, souvenirs and snacks at Universal Studios. However, sometimes we need to be practical and discuss logistics.
One of the most common logistical issues people face when planning a trip to Universal Studios is parking a vehicle at the resort.
Guest vehicles for any of the three Universal Studios parks will be parked at the CityWalk parking garage (unless you opt for valet parking). From there you’ll either walk to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure or take a complimentary shuttle bus over to Volcano Bay.
Parking at the Universal Studios Resort costs;
- General Parking – $27
- Prime Upgrade – $32
- Prime Parking – $60
- Valet Parking – $27 (for less than 2 hours)
- RV/Bus Parking – $32 per day
Given the variety of parking options available it’s important to understand the associated costs and benefits of parking upgrades prior to your trip.
How Much Is Parking At Universal Studios Orlando?
The cost of parking at Universal Studios Orlando varies depending on service and location;
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Where Do You Park At Universal Studios?
All vehicles looking to park at the Universal Studios Resort will park in the parking garages just outside of CityWalk (except for valet parking).
This applies to whether you’re visiting; Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay or CityWalk.
If you’re visiting CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure you’ll then walk from the parking lot through security and down into CityWalk.
From there Universal Studios Florida is on your right and Islands of Adventure is on your left.
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However, if you’re looking to visit the Volcano Bay water park you’ll want to follow the signs for Volcano Bay parking as you approach the toll plaza.
The parking area for Volcano Bay is on the first level of the parking garage.
Once you have parked your vehicle you’ll want to follow the signs for the complimentary shuttle bus to Volcano Bay which is located roughly 5 minutes away.
What Are The Different Types Of Parking At Universal Studios?
There are a number of different parking services available for guests visiting Universal Studios;
General parking at Universal Studios is the cheapest and most popular parking option at $26 per vehicle.
These parking spaces are located the furthest from the entrance to the parks and will require up to fifteen minutes of walking (and potentially require multiple elevators or escalators) before you arrive at the park entrance.
General parking spaces are only applicable for standard vehicles.
As such if you’re driving an RV, camper or electric vehicle that requires charging the parking location and subsequent cost will be higher.
General parking spaces are free after 6pm – excluding special events i.e. Halloween Horror Nights.
Valet parking is located just off Universal Blvd, separate from general parking which is located in the multi-story parking garage.
The cost of valet parking varies depending on the length of your visit;
- Less than 2 hours – $27
- More than 2 hours (before 6pm) – $75
- More than 2 hours (after 6pm) – $40
Valet parking not only takes the hassle out of parking your vehicle but also brings you closer to the action with a dedicated security area located just seconds from the entrance to CityWalk and subsequently the Universal Studios theme parks.
Prime parking costs $60 and sees you park your vehicle closer to the escalators when compared to general parking.
This can reduce the time it takes to get from your vehicle into CityWalk and subsequently the Universal Studios theme parks by up to 15 minutes.
If you’re looking to upgrade to prime parking during your visit to Universal Studios be sure to proceed with caution.
Given the format of prime parking, should you arrive after the early morning rush (post 10am) then you’ll be situated on a prime parking row, albeit further from the escalators.
This can actually put you in a worse location than had you stayed with a general parking space instead.
Complimentary Upgrade To Prime Parking
Prime parking is available as a complimentary upgrade to guests renting a vehicle from Avis or Budget and collecting at Orlando International Airport.
However, you’ll need to request a voucher from the desk when collecting the vehicle.
Once you arrive at the Universal Studios toll plaza go ahead and show your voucher to the attendant. From there you’ll be required to pay the $26 for general parking but be directed to a prime parking location.
How Many Parking Spaces Are At Universal Studios Orlando?
Universal Studios has 10,200 parking spaces and is the fifth-largest parking lot in the world.
To avoid confusion and help guests find their parking location more efficiently, they have divided the parking lot into different sub-lots, each named after a movie or character.
As such be sure to photograph or make a note of your Universal character or movie and lot number before leaving your vehicle.
Is Parking Free At Universal Studios Orlando?
General parking at Universal Studios is free after 6pm (except during major events such as Halloween Horror Nights).
Alternatively, free general parking is also provided to guests purchasing at least two tickets for a matinee showing (between 11am and 6pm) at the Universal Cinemark cinema at CityWalk.
However, if you’re looking to visit the Universal Studios theme parks during the daytime, then you will need to pay to park your vehicle.
An alternative to this for those staying in Orlando is to look for a hotel within walking distance of Universal Studios that also offers complimentary parking.
What Time Does Universal Studios Parking Open?
Typically, the Universal Studios parking garages open at around 6am and close one hour after CityWalk closes (usually around 2am).
Can You Park Overnight At Universal Studios?
Unless you are parking at an on-site hotel at the Universal Studios Resort, it is not recommended that you leave your car inside the parking garage as it may be seen as a security threat and towed away.
That being said, if you are in a situation whereby you need to leave your car inside the parking garage at CityWalk overnight then you’ll want to go ahead and inform a member of the Universal Studios security team who will be able to provide you with further instructions.
Accessible Parking At Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando does an incredible job of providing both spacious and centrally located parking spaces to those who require them.
Should you require an accessible parking space when visiting Universal Studios arrive at the parking toll plaza as normal and let the attendee know.
Depending on which toll you’re located at you may need to put on your hazard lights and move lanes to navigate to the correct area of the parking lot.
Accessible parking spaces are located on level three of the parking garage and require no escalators or elevators to get to the security hub, wheelchair rental, CityWalk and subsequently the Universal Studios parks.
Parking An Electric Vehicle At Universal Studios
There are a number of electric vehicle charging stations available within the Universal Studios parking lot.
However, these are located within the valet parking area. As such if you’re looking to charge your vehicle while parked you’ll want to follow the signs for valet parking located just off Universal Blvd.
Given the location of the electric vehicle charging stations, you’re required to pay for both charging your vehicle and valet parking.
Parking An RV At Universal Studios
Parking an RV or a bus at Universal Studios costs $32 per day.
Depending on the size of your vehicle you’ll be directed to an appropriate parking location by the attendant at the toll plaza.
However, you are not permitted to park your vehicle at Universal Studios overnight.
Instead, we recommend finding a suitable RV park in the Orlando area where applicable and then travelling to Universal Studios from there.
Parking At Universal Studios Resort Hotels
Parking at one of the onsite Universal Studios Resort hotels is priced per night and with the nightly cost varying depending on the hotel;
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Universal Orlando Travel Planning Guide
🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Orlando?
If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Orlando tickets. Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix. I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing Orlando theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.
🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
If you’re travelling to Universal Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.
🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Orlando, as the resort has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points. However, if Universal Orlando makes up the majority of your vacation, then you may want to stay on-site.
Staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort comes with several perks. Including complimentary transport from the hotel to the Universal Orlando theme parks. In some cases, you can even walk from your hotel straight to the theme park gates.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Orlando.
🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Orlando?
If you’re spending the majority of your vacation at Universal Orlando, it’s a good idea to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel. Staying onsite at Universal Orlando comes with several perks, including;
- Early park admission
- Complimentary transport
- Complimentary Universal Express Passes (selected hotels only)
- Walking distance of the Universal theme parks (selected hotels only)
While staying onsite at Universal Orlando is great value for money, it can still be out of budget for many. Thankfully, there are several budget-friendly hotels close to Universal Orlando to choose from.
Meanwhile, if Universal Orlando only makes up part of your Orlando vacation, then you may want to stay elsewhere. Kissimmee, International Drive and Lake Buena Vista are all within a 40-minute drive of Universal Orlando.